A winter of extreme warmth and cold, combined with recent roller-coaster conditions, could reduce this year’s apple crop, and will more than likely result in a much smaller peach crop, according to fruit growers looking out this week on snow-covered orchards. UMass tree fruit experts offer observations. Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 4/5/2016, WFCR/NEPR, 4/5/2016
News from the Media
The deep green eyes of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) have the advantage in the region’s dark spruce-fir, or boreal, forest. They see without being seen. Alexej Siren, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, environmental conservation, comments on sightings in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. (National Geographic, March, 2016)
HOLYOKE — Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (professor Prashant Shenoy, College of Information and Computer Sciences) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing battery technology at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center that could make the hydropowered city even more carbon neutral. (Data Center Knowledge 2/29/16; masslive 2/26/16)
AMHERST, Mass. – The Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is now offering a fully online associate of science degree in sustainable food and farming. Starting in September 2016, the 60-credit associate degree will allow students to study sustainable food and farming from anywhere in the world. (News Office 2/11/16)
AMHERST, Mass. – As maple sugaring season approaches, plant ecologist Kristina Stinson, assistant professor of environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, recently received a two-year, $149,800 grant to study the impact of climate change on the quantity and quality of sugar maple sap, including its chemical composition, and of sap from red maples, a species less sensitive to climate change. (Red Lake Nation News, 2/11/16; Phys.org, Recorder, Republican, 2/10/16; News Office release, 2/10/16)
State funding for free tick testing ran out in June, but now Cape Cod Healthcare is helping scientists continue efforts to track infected deer ticks on the Cape by underwriting the cost of tick testing at UMass through a grant to the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension program.
The $20,000 donation from the 2016 Community Benefits Annual Strategic Grants program will help reduce the cost of the tests from $50 per tick to $15 per tick, said UMass microbiologist Stephen Rich. It runs through September. (Cape Cod Times 02/08/16)
Carolyn J. Demoranville, director of the Cranberry Experiment Station in Wareham, talks about how cranberry farmers are adjusting to the warm winter this year. She says growers traditionally flood their bogs in winter to protect the plants from damage. (Wicked Local Kingston, 2/1/16)
AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientist Eric Decker has received a three-year, $469,775 grant to explore ways to improve the nutrition of foods high in saturated fats. Results should help food producers address recent new dietary guidelines recommending that Americans eat fewer of those fats to reduce heart disease risk. (1/13/16 UMass News Office)
Barnstable County’s longest serving employee retired January 1 after nearly four decades on the job.
William “Bill” Clark, 65, executive director of the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, has spent virtually his entire career — 38 years — working with the education and research arm of the county. He passed the torch of leadership to his deputy director, Michael Maguire. (12/24/15 Cape Cod Times)
Two teams of international researchers led by Om Parkash, agriculture biotechnologist at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, and Richard Peltier, environmental health sciences, have been awarded funding from the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) to initiate global projects designed to ultimately impact millions of people in the developing world. (12/22/15 UMass News Office)